Is Minecraft a Game, or a Gaming Platform?

When we posed the question of whether or not Minecraft is a game to the community, we received some really good responses. Carter, a member of the LockerGnome community, answered:

“It does have objectives and challenges, though not properly exclaimed. Collect resources, discover strongholds, dungeons, and new terrain. Build structures of great magnitude. I consider it a game, much more fun than others, because you have to define your own objectives and goals.”

Some would argue that virtual worlds, a term for which Minecraft certainly qualifies, aren’t games in and of themselves. Virtual Worlds that have an integrated building engine may be considered a virtual equivalent to a sculptor’s workshop. While you may be able to sculpt and mold pixels to your very whim, this isn’t a game, per se. After all, is painting (or sculpting) a game?

Is Minecraft a Game, or a Gaming Platform?By giving users the tools to build something other people can play with, it becomes more than just a game or a building environment; it becomes something of a gaming platform in itself. Minecraft’s success may well be defined by its open environment, rather than any preconceived notion of what category it falls under.

Minecraft allows you to really create your own experience. For example, you can play survival mode and build shelters from dangerous monsters, farm the land, and trap livestock. There certainly are gaming elements present in survival mode, which could be easily considered a game of survival.

Multiplayer mode is also available, which allows cooperative exploration and collaboration. In addition, a role-playing game or adventure can be built within this multiplayer environment and shared for others to enjoy. Whether or not Minecraft — or the role-playing environment built using Minecraft — is a game is up to the user to determine for themselves.

If LEGO can be called a toy, then Minecraft can be called a game. You can build a toy car out of LEGO, just as you can build a fun game within Minecraft.

What do you think? Is Minecraft a game?